Love is in the Air
I have been waiting six months to share this column. My mind started writing it during the first few weeks of September, when my oldest son started middle school…
After the first week, it seemed every day the conversations during the ride to and from school were dominated by who “likes” who, who’s “dating” who and who just broke-up with who. It didn’t take long for me to realize the turnover rate for “liking” or “dating” for the modern day middle schooler is liken to the turnover rate at a fast food restaurant. This seemed so different from my day; although, I do recall flip-flopping on a weekly basis between Kirk Cameron and Leonardo diCaprio.
At first, I choose to stay on the sidelines of these conversations. As they progressed I began asking questions and interjecting insightful, parental thoughts and ideas on the subject: “What does it mean to date?” and “If you can’t drive or pay for dinner and a movie, then why date?” Then my son invited a friend over and there was a situation that called for a full on intervention…
The boys were laughing and giggling as they sat on the couch texting back and forth with the girl his friend was currently “dating.” Suddenly, the giggles and laughter transitioned into loud bellowing. I asked, “What’s going on?” The friend tells me his “girlfriend” just told him, (in a text), that she loves him. Now, we can discuss the absence of boundaries and the over abundance of inappropriate sharing that social media and texting has provided our younger generation, but that’s a topic for a different column; this one is about love.
My mommy cackles shot straight up! “OK Boys! Get over here!” I called them up to the kitchen table, pulled the brownies I was baking out of the oven and poured 3 large glasses of ice cold milk; June Clever couldn’t have done it better! I asked, “So what are you going to tell her?” The friend replied, “I don’t know. I’m afraid if I don’t say it back she won’t like me anymore.” Time to implement a life lesson!
I told them that the Indo-Aryan language, Sanskrit, has almost 100 different words to describe love; this concept was over their heads so I had to take a step back. I explained, “When you say ‘I LOVE when the Ducks annihilate USC’ or ‘I LOVE pizza’ is that the same kind of love you have for your mom, dad, or grandparents?” They both sat there for a moment looking dumbfounded; which is pretty typical these days. Eventually, they got it; which, in contrast, doesn’t always happen these days. However, the friend was still confused as to how he should reply, “So, what, am I like, supposed to say ‘I really, really like you a whole lot’ or something?” I happily replied, “YES! Or, tell her she is very special to you.”
Unfortunately, our English dialect is lacking love language. The “L” word has many different levels of depth and meaning for all of us. Parents, help clarify this for your adolescent children. Love is a blessing, it is special and magical. It is not complicated, it does not judge, it does not hold grudges and above all it is not conditional. Love should be reserved for the most cherished relationships because everything else pales in comparison.
The Friend’s Relationship Update: He did tell her she was very special and he liked her a lot; however, they broke-up three days later because he started “really, really liking” someone else.